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Heat pump water heater selection

user-7014439 | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

My house is all electric in southern California and I plan to replace my electric water heater with a heat pump water heater. The plumbing professionals have little to no experience with these and are basically asking me to pick the water heater and they’ll install it. From the research I’ve done it looks like the best choices include the Stiebel Eltron Accelera 300E and the Rheem Performance Platinum 80 gal. The Rheem is currenly on sale for $1600 at HD while the best price I saw for the Accelera is $2400. I believe my utility has a $250 rebate for the Rheem. Is the Accelera worth the extra money? Are there other brands/models I should consider?

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  1. FrankFulton | | #1

    We just picked up the Rheem 80gal, and love it. I don't have the net connection yet, but will add it before long.

  2. RobInNorCal | | #2

    I'm a few months away from needing a (50 gal) water heater, and just for fun went web shopping. AO Smith Signature 50 gallon heat pumps seem to be significantly more affordable than the Steibel Eltron - is there a good reason for this price difference?

  3. user-2310254 | | #3

    With Steibel Eltron, you are paying for the "German engineering." It has a good market reputation, but I would want to make sure there is a provider in my area who is comfortable servicing the unit.

  4. NormanWB | | #4

    Steve's thinking is the reason I went with Rheem. Lower price& local support.

  5. user-7014439 | | #5

    Are the Rheem hybrid water heaters at HD the same quality as if ordered by a contractor? I've heard the standard water heaters at HD use plastic fittings instead of brass in order to lower the price. Should I try to order from another supplier or is that model XE80T10HD50U1 the same no matter who we buy it from? Thanks.

  6. RobInNorCal | | #6

    I have heard that rumor too - and I would need pictorial or testimonial proof to believe that it's true. I understand from first hand experience the pressure that big box retailers put on vendors to shave a penny, let alone a buck, from the price - but integrity still matters to most manufacturers.

  7. Expert Member

    User...439 and Rob,

    The only place you hear that is from other suppliers. I've heard it for years about HD tools, but every time I purchase one it is identical to the same model bought elsewhere. If it were true the internet would be flooded with comparison pictures, which you simply can't find. The big box stores business model is based on volume. Foster's Pickled Beans are the same at Costco as any other grocery store.

    Maybe I'm wrong and there is a very successful conspiracy to keep things secret, but in the absence of any evidence at all, I don't think it's very likely.

  8. NormanWB | | #8

    Rheem offers two lines:

    The Professional: at 3.55 - 3.70 UEF -US

    "Our ProfessionalTM Line is a complete range of hot water solutions with exclusive features and professional grade quality. These products are available exclusively through our contractor partners."

    The Performance: with the same efficiency numbers and sold through Home Depot.

    "Our Performance Line is a complete range of Rheem-quality hot water solutions to fit any home, lifestyle and budget."

    The spec sheets are identical except the logo badge. It's red on the pro unit and gray on the performance one.

  9. RobInNorCal | | #9

    Retailer-specific models are common in some industries (most notably consumer electronics) and identical specs in those cases do not always mean identical products. Best Buy, for example, has some models of HDTV's that simply can't be found anywhere else - and they aren't just rebadged, they are redesigned with, in some cases, more "cost effective" parts and panels.

    But I have no idea whether Rheem is building a different product for HD than they do for general distribution. As Malcolm Taylor points out, if the innards were different one would expect professional plumbers to have posted lots of photos of the cheapened parts... I can't find any online, so they probably don't exist.

  10. Trevor_Lambert | | #10

    I realised after the writing this post that my recollection of water heater specs was suspect; I'm no longer even sure they were Rheem units. It's also possible I was comparing datasheets of different vintages, and the spec differences were just a reflection of a re-design. So I've edited my post to remove what is likely misinformation.

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